June 28, 2013

Promoting Historical Fiction Bloggers: My Interview with 'The Examiner'

Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by 'The Examiner,' who has launched a campaign to spread the word on historical fiction blogs. I was so excited to get to talk with them, and really enjoyed some of the interesting questions they asked!

Here's an excerpt of the interview:
What are your favorite historical fiction novels?I love reading about the Tudors and the Wars of the Roses particularly. One of my favorites is "Mademoiselle Boleyn" by Robin Maxwell. It is a fresh take on Anne Boleyn by focusing on her early life in France before she meets Henry VIII. Another would be "A Secret Alchemy" by Emma Darwin, which switches back and forth between Elizabeth Woodville and a modern girl uncovering her story. 
Who are some historical fiction authors you have interviewed or worked with?I've had the pleasure of working with quite a few authors and publishing companies who've provided giveaways for my readers as well as interviews. Recently I worked on a big giveaway with author Sandra Byrd. She has a trilogy of novels focusing on ladies-in-waiting at the Tudor court. Currently I'm working on an interview with C.W. Gortner to coincide with the release of his latest novel. I've also had the pleasure of talking with author Alison Weir, which was very exciting!
You can read the rest of the interview here!

Also, be sure to read some of the other blogger interviews. There are some really great Historical Fiction blogs out there!

June 17, 2013

BBC's The Tudor Court Season Programmes

The Last Days of Anne Boleyn

Henry VIII's Enforcer: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell

Henry VII: Winter King

Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England: The Poor

Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England: The Rich

Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England: Brave New World

The Most Dangerous Man in England

June 11, 2013

Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge Giveaway

And the winner is...

Shannon Leigh (The Most Happy Reader)

Congrats, Shannon! And thank you to the others who entered the giveaway. Another will be held again very soon, so be sure to check back!

June 10, 2013

The World's First Fashion Book?

Fashion and accounting don't really seem to go together, especially in the 16th century  However, "in an extraordinary undertaking spanning 40 years a style-obsessed accountant from Augsburg in Germany recorded in detail what he wore, creating what historians now think is the world's first fashion book." Starting in 1520, the accountant "was in fact an innovator who pushed style boundaries. His book also challenges established ideas about historical fashion, particularly that only the very rich were stylish."

 "If sumptuary laws banned a certain item of clothing or accessory he would push a different way...If fancy hose were forbidden for example, he might have gone for fancy sleeves instead." He went to great lengths to create outfits. Unlike today there were no luxury brands he could buy off the peg.
Being an accountant presented another problem. Sumptuary laws were a sety of rules which dictated what you could and could not wear based on your social rank.

Working for important merchants he had access to fine materials and the contacts to get whatever else he needed. '
He would employ skilled craftspeople,' says Jenny Tiramani, theatre designer and principal of the School of Historical Dress. 'Everything would have been done by hand as the sewing machine hadn't been invented.'"

Be sure to read the entire article here. There is also a nice video with one of the recreated outfits.

Elizabeth I gets the 'Da Vinci Code' Treatment

What if someone told you that Elizabeth I actually died when she was 10 years old, and replaced with an impostor? What if they went on to tell you that she was actually a he?

Well, that is what you will get with a new novel titled The King's Deception: A Novel. Set in 21st century London,
Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown—an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets.  
At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for “humanitarian reasons.” An outraged American government objects, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene. Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception. Run by the CIA, the operation aims to solve a centuries-old mystery, one that could rock Great Britain to its royal foundations. Blake Antrim, the CIA operative in charge of King’s Deception, is hunting for the spark that could rekindle a most dangerous fire, the one thing that every Irish national has sought for generations: a legal reason why the English must leave Northern Ireland. The answer is a long-buried secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire forty-five-year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land. But Antrim also has a more personal agenda, a twisted game of revenge in which Gary is a pawn. With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone is caught in a lethal bind. To save Gary he must play one treacherous player against another—and only by uncovering the incredible truth can he hope to prevent the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception.
Author Steve Berry explained that he was inspired to write this novel by a chance question "during a tour of Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire three years ago. ‘I always ask if there are any secrets or mysteries, and the guide told me: “There’s nothing at Ely but I’ve heard an incredible rumor in the Cotswolds.’" Sceptical at first, Berry uncovered tantalizing hints and references in books and ancient manuscripts."

This article from the Daily Mail goes into a lot more detail, providing "proof" for Berry's theory.

It certainly seems an interesting premise, however I feel the author is really grasping at straws. I think you can interpret any "evidence" to be what you want it to be. I don't think Elizabeth was male, nor that Kate Ashley (or anyone for that matter) could pull off such a stunt. Regardless, I'm sure it will be a very interesting read, and will certainly lead to some interesting discussion.

June 5, 2013

Two Reviews for Penn's 'Henry VII: Winter King' Program

Today I've linked to two reviews discussing last week's premier of 'Henry VII: Winter King,' by author Thomas Penn.

The first review is from the Telegraph and does an excellent job of pointing out the flaws of the program, but coming to a good conclusion in the end. I noticed that in this review, as well as the one discussed below, both prefer Penn's writing to his television. I, myself, enjoyed his presentation, but understand the points each make.

Be sure to read the full Telegraph review here.

The second review is by Royal Central. Though I would have given this program four stars (as opposed to the three given in this review) I thought the reviewer did a great job. The reviewer delves into what she didn't like about the program (and has some valid points). However, the majority of the review discusses the positives. My favorite part of the review is where she compares the program to the book the show is based on. Having read it before watching the program, I feel it gave her a good insight into what the book gave but the program didn't, which she briefly discusses. She also offers a few great examples of how Penn really brought the story of Henry VII, the much forgotten Tudor, to life.

Be sure to read it here

June 4, 2013

Time Travellers Guide to Elizabethan England

In case you missed it, here's a video link to The Time Travellers Guide to Elizabethan England.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially learning about the lives of commoners. Fascinating! What did you think?

June 3, 2013

Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge Giveaway!

Author Sandra Byrd has been kind enough to offer a prize to those participating in the Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge!

The prize is a complete set of her Ladies-in-Waiting Series: To Die ForThe Secret Keeper, and recently released Roses Have Thorns.

To be considered for this giveaway, you must be signed up for The Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge, and have completed at least one review. If you meet these criteria and wish to be added to the drawing, leave a short comment stating that here.

The drawing will take place on June 10th, so be sure to get you entries in by June 9th. Good luck!

The Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge: June and Giveaway!

I can't believe it is already June!!! This year has honestly flown by. May was an exciting month, full of many "Tudor" moments, including the anniversary of the execution of Anne Boleyn.

Other exciting things happening this month:
  • Shannon Leigh posted a review of The Concubine by Norah Lofts on her blog The Most Happy Reader.
  • Ester posted a review for Julia Fox's Jane Boleyn as well as The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser.
  • Eva reviewed Queen of This Realm: The Tudor Queens (Queens of England #2) by Jean Plaidy on Good Reads, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel on Good Reads, and Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel on Good Reads.
  • Chrissy reviewed Margaret Campbell Barnes' The Tudor Rose.
  • Jaclyn Reviewed Jean Plaidy’s Murder Most Royal.
  • Lisa reviewed The Kingmakers Daughter by Phillippa Gregory.
  • Jenn reviewed Mistress of Mourning by Karen Harper on her blog Book Worm's Love of Books.
Unfortunately, no new entries this month. Don't forget, you can sign up and enter reviews until December 30, 2013!

Now onto another exciting matter...A giveaway!

Author Sandra Byrd has been kind enough to offer a prize to those participating in the Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge! The prize is a complete set of her Ladies-in-Waiting Series: To Die ForThe Secret Keeper, and recently released Roses Have Thorns.

To be considered for this giveaway, you must be signed up for The Tudor Book Blog Reading Challenge, and have completed at least one review. If you meet these criteria and wish to be added to the drawing, leave a short comment stating that on the TBBRC Giveaway Post here.